Over 10 000 people were refused entry to SA during peak season, here's why

2020-02-13 08:45 - Selene Brophy
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Minister of Home Affairs Dr Aaron Motsoaledi has shared details on the 2019/20 festive season traveller movement statistics - with unsatisfactory travel documents seeing a number of people refused entry to South Africa during the peak season.

The department said it had increased personnel and had extended operating hours at ports of entry to facilitate faster movement of people and goods during this period - with  extended hours continuing for the month of February too.  

In his address, Motsoaledi says a total of 10 362 travellers were refused movement during arrival or departure, between 1 December 2019 to 13 January 2020,  

"The main reasons for refused movements during arrival and departure include travellers on our risk engine (those involving lost and stolen passports and travellers previously declared undesirable), expired passports, insufficient documentation and fraudulent documentation," says Motsoaledi. 

READ: Visa-free = Hassle-free: 2019's most significant visa changes for SA 

Top 10 ports of entry accounting for 9 344 refusals were:

  • Beit Bridge (Zimbabwe with 2 433 refusals)
  • Lebombo (with Mozambique with 2 168)
  • Maseru Bridge ( with Lesotho with 1 524)
  • Ficksburg (with Lesotho with 1 325)
  • OR Tambo (787)
  • Oshoek  (with Swaziland with 380)
  • Groblersbruge (with Botswana with 212)
  • Van Rooyens Gate (with Lesotho with 208)
  • Caledonspoort (with Lesotho with 180)
  • Tele Bridge (with Lesotho with 127).

During this period the total number of travellers who were declared undesirable due to over staying the period permitted on their visa is 18 127.

Top 10 ports of entry accounting for (87%) travellers declared undesirable, due to overstaying, were:

  • Maseru Bridge (3 515)
  • Ficksburg (3 123)
  • Beit Bridge (2 656)
  • OR Tambo International Airport (2 524)
  • Lebombo (1 422)
  • Tele Bridge (762)
  • Caledonspoort (557)
  • Cape Town International Airport (458)
  • Oshoek (423)
  • Van Rooyens Gate (369)

Development of land port of entry  

Beit Bridge Border Post, one of six large land ports of entry to South Africa, has been pegged for infrastructure development.

Usually a high traveller and trade volume port, the department says "it is important to develop these ports of entry to reflect its commitment to easing the movement of people and goods through the ports".

The ports will be developed in partnership with the private sector through public private partnerships and with our neighbouring countries - with the One Stop Border Posts (OSBP) being a core part of the remodelling.

This means people and trucks will be processed by both countries under one roof.

When we move over to this model, people and trucks will only stop once at a border and be processed by both countries. We are pursuing the OSBP in association with other government agencies," says Motsoaledi.

He says he has had "fruitful meetings” with Botswana, the Kingdom of Eswatini (Oshoek border post), Lesotho (Maseru border\post) and Mozambique (Lebombo border post) regarding the redevelopment.

"The Master Plan for the development of Beit Bridge has been finalised and we are in the process of appointing a service provider.

"When we implement the Border Management Authority in phases, we will prioritise Beit Bridge as one of the areas where we will start implementation.  Hence, Beit Bridge shall have two programmes running more or less at the same time, that is, the One Stop Border Post (OSBP) and Border Management Authority (BMA)."

 Motsoaledi says, "BMA is a cog in our social, political and commercial interaction with our neighbours."

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